The effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in frail older adults living in Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCFs) is uncertain. We estimated protective effects of the first dose of ChAdOx1 and BNT162b2 vaccines against infection in this population.
Cohort study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated LTCF residents in England, undergoing routine asymptomatic testing (8 December 2020 - 15 March 2021). We estimated the relative hazard of PCR-positive infection using Cox proportional hazards regression, adjusting for age, sex, prior infection, local SARS-CoV-2 incidence, LTCF bed capacity, and clustering by LTCF.
Of 10,412 residents (median age 86 years) from 310 LTCFs, 9,160 were vaccinated with either ChAdOx1 (6,138; 67%) or BNT162b2 (3,022; 33%) vaccines. A total of 670,628 person days and 1,335 PCR-positive infections were included. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for PCR-positive infection relative to unvaccinated residents declined from 28 days following the first vaccine dose to 0·44 (0·24, 0·81) at 28-34 days and 0·38 (0·19, 0·77) at 35-48 days. Similar effect sizes were seen for ChAdOx1 (aHR 0·32 [0·15-0·66] and BNT162b2 (aHR 0·35 [0·17, 0·71]) vaccines at 35-48 days. Mean PCR cycle threshold values were higher, implying lower infectivity, for infections ≥28 days post-vaccination compared with those prior to vaccination (31·3 vs 26·6, p<0·001).
The first dose of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 vaccines was associated with substantially reduced SARS-CoV-2 infection risk in LTCF residents from 4 weeks to at least 7 weeks.
We conducted a systematic search for studies which evaluated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness in residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) published between 01/01/2020 and 11/03/2021. We used variations of search terms for “COVID-19” AND “vaccine effectiveness” OR “vaccine efficacy” AND “care homes” OR “long term care facilities” OR “older people” on Ovid MEDLINE and MedRxiv. We identified one pre-print article regarding LTCFs in Denmark, which reported that a single dose of BNT162b was ineffective against SARS-CoV-2 infection in residents, however, participants received the second vaccine dose 24 days following the first dose on average, which is likely to be too soon to capture the protective effects of a single vaccine dose. Additionally, we identified two pre-print reports of studies evaluating vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection and hospitalisation amongst older adults in the community. The first of these found 81% vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19-related hospitalisation at 28-34 days following a single dose of BNT162b or ChAdOx1 in ≥80-year-olds. The second of these found vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection of 60% at 28-34 days and 73% at 35+ days following a single dose of ChAdOx1 in ≥70-year-olds. No studies were identified that focused on the effectiveness of a single vaccine dose against infection amongst LTCF residents at more than 4 weeks post-vaccination, a particularly important question in the context of the UK policy decision to extend the dose interval beyond 3 weeks.
We conducted a prospective cohort study of 10,412 residents aged ≥65 years, from 310 LTCFs across England, to investigate the protective effect of the first dose of the ChAdOx1 and BNT162b vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 infection in frail older adults. We retrieved results from routine monthly PCR testing, as well as outbreak and clinical testing for SARS-CoV-2, thereby capturing data on asymptomatic as well as symptomatic infections, which we linked to vaccination records. We estimated vaccine effectiveness to be 56% (19-76%) at 28-34 days, and 62% (23-81%) at 35-48 days following a single dose of ChAdOx1 or BNT162. Our findings suggest that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is substantially reduced from 28 days following the first dose of either vaccine and that this effect is maintained for at least 7 weeks, with similar protection offered by both vaccine types. We also found that PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values, which are negatively associated with the ability to isolate virus, were significantly higher in infections occurring at ≥ 28days post vaccination compared to those occurring in the unvaccinated period, suggesting that vaccination may reduce onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in breakthrough infections. To the best of our knowledge, our findings constitute the first real-world evidence on vaccine effectiveness against infection for ChAdOx1, in any age group. We can also infer that both vaccines are effective against the B.1.1.7 variant, because our analysis period coincided with the rapid emergence of B.1.1.7 in England during the second wave of the pandemic.
Our findings add to the growing body of evidence on the protective effect of the BNT162b vaccines in residents of LTCFs and demonstrate the effectiveness of ChAdOx1 in this vulnerable population. Evaluating single-dose vaccine efficacy has become increasingly important in light of extended dosing intervals that have been implemented in order to maximise vaccine coverage across high-risk groups. Further work is required to evaluate the effectiveness of the first vaccine dose after 8-12 weeks, as well as following the second dose, and to evaluate the long-term impact of vaccination on SARS-CoV-2 infection, transmission and mortality in LTCFs. This will inform policy decisions regarding the ongoing need for disease control measures in LTCF such as visitor restrictions, which continue to have a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of residents, their relatives, and staff.
Supplementary material attached.